Ontario government rolls out new fines for price gouging amid COVID-19

Individual offenders can face fines up to $100,000 and one year in jail; corporations could face fines up to $10 million

The Ontario government has enacted new fines for individuals and retail businesses that raise prices on necessary goods during the COVID-19 outbreak.

A release shared on the provincial government’s website details the new emergency order. Effective immediately, retail businesses and individuals in Ontario cannot charge unfair prices for necessary goods.

Individual offenders can face a ticket of $750 CAD or, if summoned to court and convicted, could face a maximum penalty of a $100,000 fine and one year in jail. If convicted, a company director or officer could face a fine of up to $500,000 and up to a year in jail. Finally, corporations could face a fine of up to $10 million.

“Starting today, we are taking serious steps to ensure our frontline workers, our families and our most vulnerable citizens have what they need to stay safe,” said Premier Doug Ford. “We are putting an end to those trying to profit off of one of the darkest periods in our province’s history. If you’re engaging in price gouging on necessary goods, we are going to slap you with a ticket or you could face fines or jail time.”

Necessary goods include the following:

  • Masks and gloves used as personal protective equipment in relation to infections
  • Non-prescription medications for the treatment of the symptoms of the coronavirus
  • Disinfecting agents intended for cleaning and disinfecting objects or humans
  • Personal hygiene products, including soap products and paper products

Consumers can report an individual who is price gouging by filing a complaint either over the phone by dialling 1-800-889-9768 between 8:30am and 5pm from Monday to Friday. Alternatively, consumers can file a report online.

The order will remain in effect for the duration of the declared provincial emergency.

You can learn more about the order here.